S&P, Nasdaq futures scale new heights on earnings boost

S&P, Nasdaq futures scale new heights on earnings boost
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NEW YORK/BENGALURU (Nov 4): The S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were at record highs on Thursday, propped up by a slew of stellar earnings reports and as investors shrugged off the Federal Reserve's first steps to begin paring its pandemic-era support.

Shares of Qualcomm Inc jumped 8.1% in pre-market trade after the chipmaker forecast better-than-expected profit and revenue for its current quarter on soaring demand for chips used in phones, cars and other internet-connected devices.

A cheery third quarter earnings season, coupled with upbeat commentary about future growth from corporate America, has helped Wall Street largely dismiss concerns around rising prices, supply chain snags and a mixed macro-economic picture.

A widely expected move by the Fed on announcing its plan to start tapering its monthly bond purchases beginning this month, while sticking to the belief about the "transitory" nature of inflation and waiting for more job growth - before raising interest rates, also helped sentiment.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched record all-time closes for their fifth straight sessions on Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a record close for the fourth session in a row.

Data due at 08:30 a.m. ET is expected to show the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a fresh 19-month low last week, suggesting the economy was regaining momentum. It will be followed by a more comprehensive nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.

"The risks are now skewed towards the (payrolls data) finally aligning with signals elsewhere in the US economy, after a few months of disappointments," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, at OANDA.

"A number north of 500K could cause equity markets to reconsider ignoring the implications of the Fed taper. Similarly, a low print will keep the lower-for-longer monetary party in equities going well into the night."

At 6:50 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 12 points or 0.03%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.75 points or 0.12%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 70.5 points or 0.44%.

Tesla Inc added 1.9% and was set for a record open, while other mega-cap technology titans Microsoft Corp, Google-owner Alphabet Inc, Amazon.com and Meta Platforms also edged higher.

Oil firms including Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp rose 0.9% and 0.5% respectively, tracking crude prices.

Meanwhile, US Representative Rick Larsen said on Wednesday (Nov 3) that his fellow House Democrats could complete votes on President Joe Biden's social spending and infrastructure bills as early as midday on Friday (Nov 5).